HARARE - While the majority of Zimbabweans believe in prophecy in the Christian sense, there is one “prophet” they must surely consider following religiously and heeding his words when he says something politically — President Robert Mugabe.
Following her axing from Zanu PF and government in 2014 on unproven allegations of planning to topple 93-year-old Mugabe from power, former vice president Joice Mujuru went on to form her own opposition outfit, the National People’s Party (NPP), a party which came out of the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) — could find itself in a coalition with the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC.
But barely a few months after the launch of the party, Mugabe, the ultimate "prophet" surprised all after he predicted that the fledgling party would sooner rather than later split innumerable times into “People First One, People First Two and People First Three”.
While many did not believe him, the wily old fox’s “prophecy” has since come to pass with analysts admitting that the nonagenarian is a master of divide and rule tactics.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure told the Daily News on Sunday that the fallout between Mujuru and his former allies in former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus and former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo did not come as a surprise given Mugabe’s dependence on the Central Intelligence Organisation in his political schemes.
Masunungure said although it is inherent in Zimbabwean opposition parties to split first before eventually getting their footing, the hand of the country’s spooks is evident from Mugabe’s prediction.
“This is clearly not a prophecy in the strictest sense of the word but rather that Mugabe knows that he is at the centre of the country’s intelligence and the split is clearly its (CIO) work,” Masunungure said.
“It could, however, be argued that it is a tendency of the opposition to fragment before they get stronger like what happened to the MDC which split two times although it is unlikely that Mujuru’s NPP will get an stronger than the MDC.
“The MDC Renewal split leading to the emergence of (Tendai) Biti’s PDP and (Elton) Mangoma’s Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe so it is in the DNA of the country’s opposition politics.”
Internal disagreements within ZPF came to the fore when Mujuru dismissed seven senior members of the party whom she accused of having links with the ruling Zanu PF party.
Top on the list of those that Mujuru gave the marching orders were the Elders’ Advisory Council duo of Mutasa and Gumbo.
The other five senior members that were shown the exit are former Zimbabwe Union of Democrats leader, Margaret Dongo; former Zanu PF politburo member Kudakwashe Bhasikiti; former Cabinet member Munacho Mutezo; former Zanu PF Bikita West legislator Claudius Makova and former Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial youth chairperson Luckson Kandemiri.
“As a result, we have decided to eject some of the colleagues and comrades we thought would stand with the people’s cause, but have chosen to be agents of the regime. All sorts of tricks, ranging from coup d’état and sophisticated infiltration, have taken centre stage with a view to delaying the people’s cause of unequivocal liberation,” Mujuru said announcing the dismissals.
“We assure Zimbabweans that more heads are going to roll in this revolutionary cleansing exercise. We remain committed to the democratisation of Zimbabwe. We remain committed to a coalition of progressive opposition forces to fight and remove Zanu PF from office,” the statement said.
However, the group of seven responded to Mujuru’s move by calling a press conference where they rejected their purported dismissal, claiming that if anything, they were fed-up with Mujuru’s “inept leadership and dictatorial tendencies” such that their dismissal came at a time they were finalising moves to recall her from her position as the interim leader of the party.
Mujuru went on to rebrand her outfit the National People’s Party (NPP) while Mutasa, Gumbo and others remained with ZPF.
But true to Mugabe’s “prophecy” Gumbo and Mutasa split again just last month this time with Bhasikiti and former army general Agrippa Mutambara emerging as faction leaders, thus bringing about “People First Three”.
Another political analyst Maxwell Saungweme told the Daily News on Sunday that sowing seeds of divisions among his enemies is an art Mugabe has mastered and perfected with precision.
“This is typical of Zanu PF political antics and tactics where they infiltrate organisations and cause discord and divisions. Drivers of Zanu PF reign by divide and rule. They do the same to important organisations. They infiltrate them and cause discord,” Saungweme said.
Mugabe has also predicted that the planned move by Mujuru to form a coalition with MDC leader Tsvangirai would be the final blow to his former deputy.
In an interview on his 93rd birthday Mugabe described the intended move as an ill-timed move which will be a final blow to her political career, in a statement pregnant with overtones of sarcasm, criticism and caricature.
“If they believe a coalition can save them, why dilly-dally about it,” Mugabe said.
“Now with Mai Mujuru apparently divorced, left in that situation in which she appears to be without anyone else who matters politically, Tsvangirai will say ‘you are only an individual and I have a party, and my party cannot have a coalition with an individual. If you want to join, you will do so under me.
“I don’t know, she might have to do that to save her political skin but that will be a final blow to her political life.”
Mugabe went on to dismiss the notion that he was the cause of the splits within the political parties but instead blamed poor strategy and policies among the opposition parties in the country.
“Where have we infiltrated them? Infiltration is an act of getting your people clandestinely into their organisations. Infiltrate MDC for what? We haven’t done such thing. It’s failures on their part; complete failures and quarrels within them.
“They are not as organised as ourselves, as our party, no definite principles guiding them.
“Why don’t they talk about industries, policies they envisage, mining, industry, agriculture, utilities, and infrastructure? The policies they have in these areas of the sectors of our economy, they have nothing.”
Mugabe said he was not losing sleep over the mooted grand coalition among his opponents, insisting the country had no opposition capable of upstaging his party.
“There is duplicity like you have in MDC, you have MDC-T. You have MDC Welshman, then in Zimbabwe People First we have Mai Mujuru, then we have Zimbabwe People First which belongs to Mutasa and Gumbo, we do not have a political opposition. There is no opposition at all.
“A grand coalition, I don’t know. My teacher even when I was in Grade One told me if you add two zeros they won’t add up to 2, even if they are 10, they amount to a huge pile of zeros. So we are not afraid (of grand coalition) if by any chance, it’s going to come into existence,” he boasted.